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Understand (and trade in) the currency of recommendations.

There is no doubt that recommendations help you stand out from your competitors and make you appear as a more credible person to approach. It’s therefore important that you gather as many real recommendations as you can. This means asking for them from people you have worked for in the past, particularly where they can speak to the results you achieved for them.

LinkedIn has a standard, automated “request for recommendation” template and you should avoid using this. A short, impersonal message, which you send to everyone and anyone in your contacts, won’t be very effective. Most likely people will be put off from recommending you because you didn’t put any effort into the message.

Instead you need to make it individual, personal, and reflect the relationship you have with the person you hope to get a recommendation from. I suggest asking once, and ensuring you include wording which tells the recipient you don’t mind at all if they aren’t comfortable, or can’t recommend you publicly. I usually then follow it up with one reminder.

When you get a few recommendations rolling in, you don’t need to accept them all in one go – as they will appear on your profile immediately. Instead you can accept to receive them one day at a time, thereby showing a steady influx of people recommending you. If you are able to reciprocate it keeps your name visible in the stream of updates your network sees on LinkedIn.

All of these aspects of recommendations will help you ensure that your profile works more effectively for you.